The image of Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the twenty-eighth president of the United States, appears on the 1-dollar issue of the 1938 Presidential Series. Wilson's likeness was taken from a medal struck by the U.S. Mint.
Woodrow Wilson, a former president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey, led the United States through World War I and earned the reputation as a peacemaker. He was the first American president to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1920).
Elaine Rawlinson, the young artist who originally designed the Presidential Series, planned only for mono-colored stamps. The Post Office Department rejected that concept for the high value stamps, thinking the 1-dollar, 2-dollar, and 5-dollar stamps might be confused with the 1-cent, 2-cent, and 5-cent stamps. The 1-dollar stamp, printed in violet and black, was issued to the public on August 29, 1938, in sheet form.
Usages of the 1-dollar stamp in combination with other stamps are relatively easy to find, especially on parcels, registered letters, and heavier international airmail covers. Collectors looking for solo usages of the 1-dollar stamp will usually have to find specific multiple airmail rate covers. For example, the 1-dollar stamp would have paid two times the 50-cents per half ounce airmail rate via the Pacific to the Territory of the Philippines (in effect April 21, 1937 thru June 30, 1946), or two times the 50-cents per half ounce airmail rate to West Africa via the South Atlantic (in effect December 2, 1941 thru October 31, 1946), and four times the 25-cents per half ounce airmail rate to most of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands (in effect November 1, 1946 thru June 30, 1971).